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Taos, New Mexico

Quintessential Southwest in Taos     Photo: Corbis

Taos, New Mexico
A testament to how eclectic Taos is: Julia Roberts and Donald Rumsfeld once owned adjoining properties here. But as much fun as it is to hang out on Main Street and eavesdrop on the dreadlocked crowd at the Bean coffee shop, you'll want to spend most of your time outside. Until the first snow makes Taos the best ski area this side of Silverton, pack a fly rod. The Red River, about 25 miles north of town, is the main brown trout spawning tributary for the Rio Grande. Fish near Questa, above the confluence of the two rivers, use a caddis fly nymph, and adhere strictly to catch–and–release rules—the fish are spawning in September, and you're a stone's throw from the Los Alamos atomic labs (guided day trips, $275; thesolitaryangler.com). Back in Taos, chow down on duck–fat fries at what may be the best restaurant in New Mexico: Joseph's Table, in the Hotel La Fonda, on the plaza (josephstable.com), which is just a short walk from El Monte Sagrado, a Native American–influenced luxury resort (doubles, $180; elmontesagrado.com).

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